Meaghan Elizabeth Baldwin
Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate
Wantagh, New York
How long have you been a Catholic?
I was raised Catholic, but I really explored Catholicism more deeply in college.
What did you study in college?
I studied environmental resources in college. Science was my favorite subject in high school.
What were you doing before you entered this formation program?
I went into environmental consulting after undergrad, and then I went to grad school.
What made you begin to consider a religious vocation?
When I was an undergrad, I had the opportunity to go on retreat with the Catholic parish on campus to a seminary on Long Island: the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception. I also had an amazing experience when I was invited to the annual Polish Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. I walked from New Jersey to the shrine in Pennsylvania, and it was incredible.
How did your education impact your decision to enter religious life?
It gave me a different perspective to bring to the table. I really like reflecting on things. The scientific background I have makes me come up with different reflections from others, but I still bring it back to God. My debt from college was a big challenge, but obviously it all worked out with this grant.
What made you choose the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate?
They reach out to the younger people who are “falling through the cracks.” I just felt that things were coming together. Prayers during adoration on one of the pilgrimages led me and brought it to my attention. I felt I was called to this particular community.
What is the most difficult part about adjusting to religious life?
Being away from my family. We do get to have family visits or phone calls once a month. And we can write family and friends, but I’m not used to writing so much. That change in contact was hard to adjust to.
What is the most rewarding part of religious life?
It is such a blessing to have the silence and time for reflection and recollection. Also, Adoration. Every day, we have a holy hour typically during adoration, and we have Mass every day.
Who is your spiritual role model? Why?
I probably have a few, but certainly Our Lady—what better way to go to Jesus than through his mother? And certainly my mom. She’s so loving and caring. She embodies the sacrificial love perfectly.
What spiritual gift do you think you bring to the order?
I like to try to make things creative. Even when wrapping a present, I try to make it in a creative way. I also like to teach and make teaching fun and imaginative.
What would you tell someone considering a religious vocation who is unsure what steps to take?
I would suggest that, if they’re not already, have some time of silent prayer during the day—take 20 to 30 minutes to do that. Even just praying on the Gospel of the day.
After you become a nun, what do you hope to be doing in ten years? Twenty?
At this point I am trying to leave things in God’s hands and do whatever he needs me to do. Sisters do so many different things.
If you met Jesus today and could ask him one question, what would it be?
This may not be very humble, but: “Could I help you bring the fold to heaven?”
What is your favorite prayer?
The Hail Mary! I also have a special prayer I say to myself before Communion.
What do you do for fun?
I play cards. I also like playing ping-pong. Other communities talk about wanting to have a competition.
What would you like to say to the Hilton Foundation, who made this Grant possible?
Thank you very, very much for everything. Only by the grace of God go I.